We wish you a Kasio Kristmas – interview and giveaway!
A group named Kasio Kristmas made up of Platinum and Gold-winning artists has recorded one coolest Christmas albums I’ve heard. I got a chance to chat with them and they gave me some great stuff to give away to our readers – keep reading for details on how to win it.
The Kasio Kristmas CD and DVD/CD bundle is essentially classic Christmas songs all done on Casio instruments. The tracks mix chiptunes, New Wave, Synth Rock, Modern Electronica, Chip Tunes, Disco, Jungle, Exotica and Electro Metal versions of all our holiday favorites. It’s been done in 5.1 surround, with some great videos and visualizations that pulsate along with the music.
Their arsenal of Casio noisemakers include:
VA-10, SK-1, VL-Tone, SK-5, Rapman, SA-21, EP-10, PT-07, CZ-1, TA-10, DH-100, DG-20, PG-380, Turbo Drive Calculator and Karate Fight. To top it all off, special guest Ikey from The Mars Volta appears on a track with his own personal array of Casios.
Here’s a taste of the craziness:
I got a chance to catch up with with EMF and Boto from Kasio Kristmas, and here’s what they had to say:
SG: So, what led you to do the album?
KK: Kasio Kristmas seemed like a quirky simple idea, traditional Christmas songs done with battery operated toy keyboards. Once we got into it we noticed that it was easier said than done.
Being products from the 80’s got us talking about the sounds of old keyboards and arcade games that we came to love, and how Casio was the epitome of that era in lo-fi sound. We knew that it would be quirky, but could we make a interesting, relevant and cool record by limiting ourselves to just Christmas Music and Casio? Sure why not, so we began to scour the internet and thrift stores buying up old Casios for $50 or less, which included the SK-1, SA-21, VL-Tone. (Ok, we did pay $250 for the VA-10.)
SG: Can you tell us about the recording process?
KK: We wanted to maintain the authenticity and quality of our sounds so we began the arduous task of recording and editing all of our own drum patterns using Neve mic pres. This extensive collection of loops became the building blocks for each track.
We had to be very creative and careful not to repeat ourselves with the same sounds throughout the entire CD, so we turned to the more obscure like the Sax DH-100, DG Guitars, Casiotone 403, Casio Drum sticks, and even some Casio handheld games. We even went as far as to use a talkbox, guitar pedals and sampled Casio noises with the SK-5 & SK-1 and played melodies with the new manipulated sounds etc.
The CZ-1 became our favorite for bass sounds while the VA-10 was used for vocals and effects. We used the SA-21 for it’s extensive sound bank as well as it’s drum sounds. We used every Casio we have for it’s drum patterns, which we chopped into loop’s then layered with others. If you listen carefully there’s a lot of drum sounds and patterns that change throughout the songs. On “Frosty The Rapman” (the only song with full on vocals) we paid tribute to the first Rap keyboard the RP-1 Casio Rapman. It’s obvious that we focused on the patterns from it. It definitely turned out to be quite an eclectic fun sounding project
If this wasn’t enough, we then decided to stretch the boundaries to a place where Casio has never gone before 5.1 Surround. How weird is that, Juxtaposed Holiday Hi-fi!!!!!! What a Dichotomy, 8-Bit Lo-Fi at 24-Bit 96kHz, 5.1 Surround Sound. We then thought it’d be nice to have some visuals to accompany the music while it’s playing. There are fun nostalgic things bouncing and pulsating to the music. They’re not music videos, but they are a lot cooler than some of the static pictures that stay on your screen like on most 5.1 DVD’s….just a fun extra that we wanted to add to the experience of our deluxe double disc edition.
SG: What is your all-time favorite synth?
KK: Our Favorite Casio would be the SA-21 and SK-1 we did a midi mod for one of our SK-1 which really helped utilize the SK-1’s usability.
SG: Being a gear hound myself, I always seem to regret selling or trading something years later – Were there any synths that got away, or ones that you wish you had never sold?
KK: The Casio that got away is the rare SK-8A, it has some middle eastern sounds as well as Arabic rhythms and scale capabilities. We missed out on attaining one about a year ago. We’re still hoping that Santa might bring us one, otherwise we are still hunting
SG: What’s in store for the future for Kasio Kristmas?
KK: Our future plans are collecting more Casios, (I believe we have about 50 at this time) doing more Remixes using only Casios, (like the one we did for Radioheads Nude which is a free download at our site) some sound design and we’re currently working on an all Casio metal project. It’s all popular metal songs from the 80’s featuring some surprise guest appearances and yes we will only be using Casios. Stay tuned!
Not only does their CD and DVD push all the right buttons for me (pun intended), but they also gave us a PILE of stuff to give away to our readers!
So here’s how it works:
Do one or more of the following things:
- Go and check out their songs here, and tell us what your favorite Kasio Kristmas song is in the comments below. Random winners will get a free Kasio Kristmas CD!
- Tell all about your favorite Casio Keyboard in the comments below, and why it’s your favorite. Random winners will get a free Kasio Kristmas DVD/CD bundle!
- Upload a song that uses some Casio keyboard or noisemaker to our Soundcloud drop box and leave a note with the name of your song in the comments below. Random winners will get a free Kasio Kristmas T-Shirt!